Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

4 out of 10

I have seen the first Jack Reacher film a few times. The first time was a proper screening of the film. The other times, the film ran as background noise as I worked. The first film was not a great film, but for what it was, it was entertaining. By the end of the first film, there did not need to be a sequel or follow up. It was my surprise when I saw trailers for this second film.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a generically titled mediocre film. It is a payday film for Tom Cruise, who serves as the producer of the film. The film follows the story of Major Turner (Cobie Smulders, you can do so much better than films like this) who is wrongfully accused and jailed for espionage. Who shows up to help her out? The ever resourceful; eternally and intensely grumpy Jack Reacher (Cruise). Along for the ride is Samantha (Danika Yarosh) who may or may not be Reacher’s daughter. There’s a plot about military contractors and retired weapons also.

The storyline that intertwines Turner and the military contractors is decent and enough to carry the film. It is not deep, nor suspenseful, but for a B-grade film, it is enough. My problem is that the film runs two hours long and it is mainly because of the subplot about Reacher’s possible illegitimate daughter. The daughter character is annoying – at points, I could have sworn she was doing a re-enactment of Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone. Her storyline did not add much except for an end scene for trying to pull tears, which did not work as it was over-the-top hokey. Had the screenwriters dropped this storyline, the film could have been a more lean 90 minutes long, making it more entertaining than the long slow film as it stands now.

I understand everyone needs to get paid, even the likes of Tom Cruise. But, he needs to move on from his ever-running action hero era. Cruise was just slumming it in this film. Please Tom Cruise, stop making Jack Reacher films.

I like Cobie Smulders and hope she gets better roles. She does what she can with the Turner character and it was great to see her onscreen. But, she is not given much to work with. She even has to recite cringe worthy lines like: “Now, open up those crates before I grab you by your hair plugs and bitch slap that smug look off of your face.” Ugh.

As an action film, the action was pedestrian and borderline boring. As a thriller film, well, there were no thrills. As a suspense film, the only thing that was suspenseful was trying to figure out when the film was going to wrap up. Don’t bother with Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Here’s hoping the producers Never Go Back for another Jack Reacher film.

Final thought: Why is everyone running all the time? Even when it’s not needed.